View Full Version : NEF Sidekick 50 Cal Muzzleloader - Thumbs Down!

October 19, 2004, 06:00 PM
New to muzzleloading/black powder. Picked up the NEF Sidekick 50 - nice price - $143 plus tax. But recommend a don't buy on this one (til they fix the main issue) - two problems with it - one major and one minor.

The major problem is - the sights are "defective" in that they're not calibrated anywhere even close to a typical load. The rear sight is way too low, or the front sight way too high, depending on how you look at it. OK, here's the facts...went to the range Sun to sight it in (muzzloader season starts this NEXT Sat, the 23rd). On the rear sight elevation adjustment, it was set near the middle, a little higher than half way. It's over 14 inches low at 100 yards. This is with a very standard loading under normal weather conditions - 100 grains of triple seven (2 pellets) over a hornady XTP 240 grain, .451 bullet, saboted. I don't think it gets more standard than that does it? Moved the rear sight up to the HIGHEST marked adjustment. Still some 7 or more inches low at 100 yards - and these would all obviously be hitting the target even lower with 260 or 300 gr loadings. Then moved rear sight up even higher, well past the highest actual marking - still 4 inches low at 100 yards. Then moved the sight so far up the rail that it's about 3/4ths hanging off, and only 1/4th on the rail - just enough for the screw to hold it on - and it's a little wobbley and could easily be knocked askew in this situation - not good at all. The rifle is STILL 2" low at 100. So I take it back to the store today. Their in-house gunsmith hears me out - he doesn't look surprised (hmmm). He goes to the back, then comes back a few mins later with a much larger/higher rear sight assembly and says "this is the one they used to use on that gun; don't know why they changed". Replaced it for free, to their credit, but still I was very inconvenienced in that I had to make another trip to the store and will have to do another range session before Fri now to sight it in, and I lucked out in that that had the part to make it right there on site - you might not. This sight setup might work fine if you're shooting 210s or less, or use a 75 yards zero, but not for more standard conditions.

The minor problem is that the ramrod uses an 8/32" insert screw size, unlike every other muzzleloader in the world, that uses 10/32", since the standard for muzzleloading accessories is 10/32". So I found out the hard way that I need a "worm" to remove the cleaning patch - I had to unscrew the damned breech block between every shot, for cleaning, when the patch didn't come out. And the worms for sale are for 10/32. The answer of course is a little adapter that changes the 8/32 to 10/32. But they are out of the adaptor, or never had it, so I'm pretty well SOL for now. So if NEF corrects this rear sight problem, and if you get this rifle, get the adaptor from the get-go, or you'll be making the rounds, or ordering from the net and waiting for your adaptor to come in.

4V50 Gary
October 19, 2004, 08:47 PM
Thanks for the report. Good to know these tidbits that the gun rags often overlook.

December 5, 2004, 03:07 PM
if you are useing pyrodex or777 and sabots you should never have to clean between shots maybe every 20 I know because I shoot sidekicks and huntsman all the time as far as the ram rod atachments they have been using this typ of ram rod on NEF H&R muzzle loaders for thirty years and attachment are standard and available from Dixie gun works and many sorces jag , patch pullers etc are not uncommon for these rifles you should never need these things in the field however. I would keep wire or paper clip available whowever to keep the vent clear as for the rest I feel that the sights are not the best but is a very in expensive rifle about half the price of T/c or even CVA White Etc . other than cheap sights these rifles are as good if not better than any on the market I know that my huntsman and sidekick are vey accurate rifles I have over35 years of experience in muzzleloading . :)

December 5, 2004, 09:36 PM
Still some 7 or more inches low at 100 yards - and these would all obviously be hitting the target even lower with 260 or 300 gr loadings.

I'd be inclined to think that, with all other things being the same, the heavier projectiles will hit higher @ 100 yards. Heavier projectile = slower. Slower = slightly more time elapsed before exiting the barrel. More time elapsed = rifle recoils slightly higher before projectile exits the bore. The result should be that the slower projectile will hit higher on the target at close ranges like 100 yards.

gary c coffey
December 20, 2004, 01:12 PM
I purchased a new nef 50 cal this year for an extra, based on the low price. this rifle has adjustable fiber optic sights. 1st shot at 50 yards was 1" low and 2" to the right. After puttering a little bit, I was shooting 3" groups at 100 yds. ( pretty good for me.) my rifle is drilled and tapped for scope mounts but I wonT need a scope at the distance I usually shoot. -50 yds or less. Really sorry to hear about the problems you had with your rifle. May want to contact H&R 1871 and speak to a technician. may save someone else from spending a lot of time on a certain model .

December 21, 2004, 08:12 PM
This one is surprising to me.

I picked one of these up at a pawn shop for $ 100 out the door. It had a missing front fiber optic front sight. I called NEF the next day and they sent me a replacement sight plus owners manual at no charge.

I put the sight on when it arrived and took it to the range. With 2 pyrodex pellets and a Hornady 45 cal sabot slug it consistently shot 2 to 3 inch groups
at 100 yards.

It has taken two deer, one at 75 yds and the other at 110 yds. Both dropped in their tracks.


December 29, 2004, 01:08 PM
are standard and available from Dixie gun works and many sorces

You are incorrect, sir. They may be available from several online sources, but NONE locally, because it uses an 8/32 instead of the stardard 10/32. You have to buy the adaptor to use standard accessories. You may have an older one that is different, but I assure you, this is the current state of affairs for new guns being sold.

I'm glad others are happy with theirs, but mine is a POS. If you can't get on a pie plate at a standard hunting range (50 or 100 yards) with a standard load, despite more than 100% adjustment of the site, there's somethng majorly wrong. I may have gotten a lemon. At the very least, their CQ is spotty. In addition, as mentioned, the accuracy is horrendous.

Jbar4ranch. No, that phenomena you describe, although real, is much more than offset by bullet drop at these ranges. It's a real issue with handgun rounds at close ranges. In any event, it's irrelevant, as a 100 gr /240 gr loading is - well, you can't get anymore standard than that, and it wasn't even close to close to close to being near zero, even at MAX adjustment.

This thing is an utter POS. I have no doubt that other NEFs may be just dandy. But I've been buying and shooting rifles for enough years to know when I have junk on my hands, after the testing I did.

January 2, 2005, 10:57 PM
I dont know how long you have been around muzzle loaders but all I can say is 8 32 is standard not as common as 10 32 and it absolutly no problem getting accessories in 8 32 or 10 32 what ever your pleasure H&R has been 8 32 for over 30 years and I have absolutely no problem getting patch pullers or jags for 8 32 and no i dont need to buy an adapter 8 32 is not rare